What Is a Search Engine Ranking Report?

Digital marketer reviews organic search rankings in a search engine ranking report.

Without the right SEO tools, doing SEO well is almost impossible. A search engine ranking report is an important tool that gives you an unbiased look into your organic search rankings. I’ll talk more about why it’s important and what it can do for you as we discuss:

What Search Engine Rankings Tell You (and Don’t Tell You)

Rankings are not the be all, end all of SEO. In fact, any SEO professional or company that only promises rankings as the end result of SEO is not doing their entire job. What rankings are, though, is a possible leading indicator of organic traffic.

For example, your website can rank for keywords, but does that mean anyone is searching for them? Will they click on the result? And if they do, is it valuable traffic? None of these are givens.

To that point, you definitely want to rank. But you want to rank for the right terms targeting the right audience that will generate traffic.

Also, you want to rank on Page 1 of the search results. There’s a famous saying in the SEO community that Page 2 is the best place to hide a dead body. And I am fond of pointing out that the only people going to Page 3 of search results are SEOs looking for their own websites.

I am fond of pointing out that the only people going to Page 3 of search results are SEOs looking for their own websites.
- Bruce Clay

The data shows time and time again that all the eyeballs are on the first page.

So analyzing your search rankings is important if you want to:

  • Get your webpages on Page 1.
  • See trends that hopefully show ranking progress. What a user sees will vary, but a consistent ranking monitor report showing keyword-by-keyword rankings over time is valuable.
  • Monitor any sudden ranking changes so that you can then figure out if it was something Google changed, for example, or something on your website that caused it.

There are some things that search engine rankings won’t do. A search engine ranking report won’t tell you if you are:

  • Targeting the right keywords
  • Driving traffic
  • Driving quality traffic
  • Getting conversions
  • Making revenue from SEO

Keep in mind that rankings fluctuate, and they vary from user to user, morning to night, region to region, or even what you see on your desk minute to minute. Five users in the same city may see different results even at the same time based upon their prior search history. So do not compare the reports to browser searches.

What Does a Search Engine Ranking Report Do?

A search engine ranking report gives you a view of your webpages’ rankings in the search results that’s as unbiased as possible. These reports are really vital for monitoring trends over time when compared to prior results.

As mentioned above, unbiased is important because search engines like Google personalize your search results based on things like being signed into Google, prior search history, location and more.

So manually checking your search results rankings by going to the search results and typing in a query can give you a false reading.

There are many companies offering search engine ranking reports. I’ll use ours from the SEOToolSet® as an example of the data you can get. Ours happens to be one of the fastest real-time search engine ranking monitors on the market.

With a search engine ranking report from our Ranking Monitor, you can:

  • Get your webpages’ unbiased rankings across Google and Bing search engines.
  • See which keywords your site is ranking for and which pages are ranking for them.
  • Run the report on demand, or schedule it to run at regular intervals automatically so you can track how rankings fluctuate over time.
  • Specify locations worldwide so you can monitor rankings across the globe if you are doing international SEO.
  • Run reports to show rankings over time with comparison data across timeframes.
  • Gather competition rankings for your keywords at the same time.
  • See how your other websites also perform for your keywords as aliases.
Ranking Monitor report excerpt from Bruce Clay Inc.’s SEOToolSet.
Ranking Monitor report excerpt from Bruce Clay Inc.’s SEOToolSet

Our search engine ranking report gives you details like:

  • The highest ranking your site has had for the keyword across search engines / countries.
  • The estimated amount of monthly search activity for the associated keyword. Use this to gauge the popularity of a keyword.
  • The estimated number of search results for the associated keyword so you can gauge the competitiveness of a keyword; more pages equals more competitors to beat out for a high ranking.
  • The estimated average cost per click for the associated keyword. Use this to gauge the competitiveness of a keyword; higher CPC generally means more people bidding and driving the price higher.

Search engine ranking reports are also useful for tracking your competitors’ rankings. This gives you the same unbiased information and shows you how your website stacks up to your competitors.

Our Competitor Ranking tool in the SEOToolSet lets you add a market competitor to track their rankings, and lets you compare by keyword, by competitor or even across markets. This report tells you where your competitors rank for the keywords you care about.

Using this report, you can see if a competitor is ranking better than you for your keywords. If they are, then it’s worth your time to review their site and see what they’re doing to get a better ranking.

The SEO analysis of a competitor is outside the scope of this report, but you can check the site for the amount of relevant content, inbound links, etc. to see where they are outperforming your site. (Here’s more on competitor research for SEO.)

Competitor Ranking report from Bruce Clay Inc.’s SEOToolSet.
Competitor Ranking report from Bruce Clay Inc.’s SEOToolSet

A Search Engine Ranking Report Is a Useful Tool in Your SEO Toolbox

Understanding your website’s (and your competitors’) search rankings is one way to monitor your SEO progress. And doing it manually without any tools can lead to bad data because of personalization in the search results.

As a result, a search engine ranking report is an important tool in your SEO toolbox that will lead you to ask better questions as you are trying to build a good SEO strategy.

Is your SEO performing as well as you need it to? If your current rankings aren’t bringing you the traffic you need, contact us for a free quote and consultation. Our expert SEO services could help your website turn a corner.

Bruce Clay is founder and president of Bruce Clay Inc., a global digital marketing firm providing search engine optimization, pay-per-click, social media marketing, SEO-friendly web architecture, and SEO tools and education. Connect with him on LinkedIn or through the BruceClay.com website.

See Bruce's author page for links to connect on social media.

Comments (4)
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4 Replies to “What Is a Search Engine Ranking Report?”

These factors will surely help any level seo expert to rank better on the google.
Keep updating in the future also.

Thank you so much for sharing all this wonderful info with the how-to’s!!!! It is so appreciated!!!” “You always have good humor in your posts/blogs. So much fun and easy to read.

As I am an SEO expert these will help me in my field.
Looking forward to having more from you.

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